Mark Twain’s Satire in Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, published in 1885, is the sequel to his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer published in 1875. Huckleberry Finn tells the bond of friendship between Huckleberry Finn, a southern teenager, and Jim, an uneducated slave, encountering various characters and events as the two escape down the Mississippi River. The setting of the novel takes place during the antebellum era in America, in which slavery and racial prejudice were at the forefront of societal issues. Twain’s emphasis on satirizing the flaws in American society makes this a frequently banned novel in the United Staes. The audience of the novel either do not see the satire and believe the novel is racist piece of literature or people recognize the satire and despise the image it places on whites and Americans.

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The two perform their rendition of the balcony scene in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The group begins to ‘loaf’ around this town described in chapter twenty-one: . “Then we went loafing around town. The stores and hous- es was most all old, shackly, dried up frame con- cerns that hadn’t ever been painted; they was set up three or four foot above ground on stilts, so as to be out of reach of the wa- ter when the river was over- flowed…….All the stores was along one street. They had white do- mestic awnings in front, and the country peo- ple hitched their horses to the awning-posts.

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There are many examples of satire in “TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Through satire, Mark Twain shares his beliefs about racism, religion, and human nature, among many other topics that plagued the country at the time. The context of this novel spread throughout American culture, causing American’s to reflect on the society in which humans, primarily white men, have upheld since the founding of this country. In modern times, these bigoted, narrow-minded social problems are similar to the struggle of activist advocating for gay rights and woman’s rights. Twain’s satire is often subtle but has the ability to be very bold and upfront. Reading this novel as an American causes these citizens to accept their contribution to this society in which we live.

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